Azerbaijan model of ethnic, religious groups’ existence in harmony
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 7
By Elena Kosolapova – Trend:
Azerbaijan is representing an alternative and positive model of how various ethnic groups and especially religious groups can live in harmony with each other, that can be an example for the whole world, said Dan Stav, Israeli ambassador to Baku, in his interview with Trend.
“When you see Sunni and Shia are slaughtering each other in the Middle East from Yemen to Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, the clashes between Iranian Sunni and Shia all the way to Afghanistan and Pakistan, meanwhile, you see the alternative that is offered by Azerbaijan,” said the ambassador.
He noted that Azerbaijan, where a major part of the population is Muslims, have good relations with Israel.
The diplomat added that bilateral relations between Israel and Azerbaijan are unique because there are very close contacts between the two countries’ peoples.
“The Jews have been living in Azerbaijan since time immemorial – for more than 15 centuries,” said Stav, adding that the Jews lived in the country in a harmony with their neighbors, whether they were Zoroastrians, Christians or Muslims.
“They always were a part of the fascinating democracy of this region. For us this component is of great importance,” he added.
The ambassador recalled that a big number of Azerbaijani Jews migrated to Israel in 1990s and they are migrating today in a smaller number.
“They went to Israel not because they were prosecuted here, but because they wanted to live with Jewish brothers in Israel and they serve as Azerbaijan’s ambassadors of goodwill in Israel,” added the diplomat.
Stav also noted that Azerbaijan and Israel have great interest in stability in the Middle East, and Israel attaches great importance to cooperation with Azerbaijan.
“We are on one edge of the Middle East and Azerbaijan is not far from the Middle East,” he said. “What happens in the Middle East have repercussions both in Israel and Azerbaijan.”
“The issues of terrorism and radicalization generate certain Islamophobia in some parts of the world,” noted the Israeli ambassador.
“We fully understand all this phenomena and share Azerbaijan’s concern in this regard,” added Stav.
Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova